On-demand beauty service apps like Priv and Glamsquad have changed the game when it comes to accessing professional makeup services. These service apps—which send hair and makeup pros straight to your door—don’t just make getting ready easy and convenient, but also offer the additional benefit of getting your skin analyzed by a pro. But even though beauty strategies vary from person to person, some things come standard. Here, we asked the pros: What’s the one makeup step most women skip that could make or break their look? It turns out there are five.
We usually bring in the makeup pros for an event or party, and there’s a reason they always start with the right base for your skin type: The look will last well past final call. “A little makeup primer helps the foundation to glide on and gives [the makeup] staying power,” says Brett Freedman, a Los Angeles-based celebrity makeup artist who has worked with Sarah Silverman, Camilla Belle and Taylor Swift.
At home, try a mattifying primer like LORAC Cosmetics POREfection Mattifying Face Primer if you’re a little oily, and quench dry skin with a primer that adds hydration and radiance like Honest Beauty’s Everything Primer. Bonus: With the latter formula you’ll achieve that lit-from-within glow even without a tinted moisturizer or foundation.
Seasoned makeup artists don’t just use whatever foundation they have in their arsenal on you. Aside from your skin tone and the type of coverage you would need, they also consider your skin type and concern, and so buzzwords on the product labels like “oil-absorbing” and “hydrating” become highly relevant.
“For a client with oilier skin, I’d use a powder foundation to absorb some of that slickness,” explains Freedman. “Drier skin types should opt for a cream foundation with the word ‘moisturizing’ on the label to get those professional-looking results at home.”
Despite popular belief, your face and neck are not the best places to shade match a foundation, BB cream or tinted moisturizer. “I match to breastbone,” says Freedman, explaining that the face and neck tend to be a couple of shades lighter than the rest of the body (like the underside of the arms), especially for women who apply SPF neck and up. So once the shade is properly matched to the rest of your body, apply that color to face, under your jawline and down the front of the neck to even everything out.
Just about every client makeup pros encounter wants a perfectly bright and awake-looking eye area. And, yes, makeup artists usually dab a little shimmer below the brow bone for definition, but they also apply highlighter above the brows for an even better effect. “People often highlight directly on the brow bone, but drawing the eye even higher above the brow bone will have a more dramatic lifting effect,” says Karissa Bodnar, Seattle-based makeup artist and founder of Thrive Causemetics. At home, use your ringer finger (it has the softest, most forgiving pad) to dab a small amount of illumination like RMS Beauty Magic Luminizer above your arches.
Makeup artists use this technique, also known as “invisible eyeliner,” to make the lashes look fuller and more dramatic. It also works to neutralize redness at the waterline. At home, use navy eyeliner like Kevyn Aucoin The Eye Pencil Primatif in Defining Navy to wiggle the color in-between the lashes underneath your eyelid. “Navy neutralizes redness and brightens the whites of your eyes, so the closer you can get it to your eyes, the better,” adds Bodnar.